- Prescribing Advice for GPs - https://www.prescriber.org.uk -

Co-proxamol withdrawal saves lives

The British Medical Journal has published the results of a study that aimed to assess the effect of the withdrawal of co-proxamol on analgesic prescribing and poisoning mortality.

In January 2005, it was announced that the product licence for co-proxamol would be withdrawn at the end of 2007. This study found a 59% reduction in prescribing of co-proxamol between 2005 and 2007.

Mortality data for suicides, accidental poisonings or open verdicts revealed an overall decrease of 349 deaths over the same period. There was no statistically significant change for other analgesics.

The authors conclude that the withdrawal of the licence for co-proxamol "has been an effective measure" in reducing deaths from poisoning. These data, and that from a similar study in Scotland, appear to support the decision to withdraw the product licence.

Action: Clinicians should continue to review and reduce prescribing of co-proxamol.